Landmarking the 60 Blog

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When someone treats you like an option, help them narrow their choices by removing yourself from the equation.  It’s that simple.

It’s been a year since I officially bid farewell to my prior employer.  I’d been there fourteen years and had no reason to assume I wouldn’t retire from there.  The managing partner and I started working together over 30 years ago.  I was a new legal secretary in California and he was a second-year associate.  We worked at several law firms together until he opened his own practice in 2002.  I was the go-to person.  I was employee number two.  (Employee number one had a last name starting with “V” and, therefore, beat me!)  As the saying goes, “I knew where the bodies were buried.”  The history, the people, the good, the bad, the stuff that mattered.

Then one day last June, I realized I had had enough.  I just couldn’t work there any more.  I took a stress leave of absence, went through group and individual counseling, increased my medication dosage, and learned useful meditation and mindfulness techniques.

Last September, at the end of my leave, I officially gave notice to my boss in-person and we parted ways.  It was bittersweet and I went through a period of grieving.  My ex-coworkers and ex-bosses perhaps also felt a sense of loss, making the same mental gear-shifts they needed to in order to reconcile not seeing me every day.

A big change for me meant a big change for them too.  After all, I was practically a part of the furniture.  Maybe they missed me and maybe they didn’t.  I’ll never know.

Perhaps no one reached out because they were feeling anxious and awkward.  Here I am, working on Friday afternoon, and not returning on Monday morning.  So no one really knew what was happening, nor did I wish to tell them anything.  Maybe we’d keep in touch via email or social networks, but that didn’t happen to me.

I know it’s normal to feel a bit of sadness when you leave colleagues and friends behind.  Maybe they were pissed that I left.  Or they were happy and proud of my change.  Advice columns state:  “Just do what you can to keep in contact.  If you want to.  Things will never be the same.  That’s life.”

Indeed.  Over the past year, I periodically would wonder about those ex-coworkers.  And maybe they wondered about me too.  But no more.  As the year moved on, I thought about them less and less.  And I’m sure they did the same.

I’ve made new acquaintances at this current job, and I’ve come to realize that working at age 60 is different than it was at 30.  Remember when work was your main source of a social life?  And now, while I’m friendly with folks at work, my social life and my work life don’t intersect.  That’s just the way it is.

 

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Redoing the 60 Blog

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Ashton Kutcher:  I think every day is Groundhog’s Day.  I get to learn from my mistakes and be better every day.

Another Sunday, another recap.  Here are links to this week’s posts, including information about my contest to help rename my blog.  Send me your suggestions for a new name by Monday, October 2.  Prizes will be given!

Monday:  Reliving the 60 Blog

Tuesday:  Honoring the 60 Blog

Wednesday:  Happy-fying the 60 Blog

Thursday:  Renaming the 60 Blog

Friday:  Catching the 60 Blog

See you next week!

Renaming the 60 Blog

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Katherine Hepburn:  As for me, prizes are nothing.  My prize is my work.

There are only 100 days until Christmas and I fear that the stores are already stocking Christmas trees and decorations.  Has CVS put their Halloween candy on sale yet?

Where does the time go?  It’s only 55 days until my birthday, and it’s become evident that I’ll need to change the name of this blog.  Any suggestions?  Dare I run a contest to see how many creative souls are reading this blog?  How many care what it’s called?  Who will notice if I stop writing it?

I started writing this blog, anticipating that dozens (and dozens) of readers would comment and we’d have an ongoing discussion of aging, working after 60, cooking (or, more to the point, not cooking), family and friends, and other topics.  I had lofty goals, to be sure, and I’m not disappointed.  This project just turned into something different.

My blogging mentor suggested we could add all kinds of Google Analytics tools to this blog, once we reached a certain number of page views per day, for an extended period of time.  I haven’t yet reached that number, but I am quite impressed that I have readers and followers from countries such as Malaysia, Pakistan, Italy, Philippines, India, United Kingdom, Australia, and Thailand.  I don’t personally know anyone in those countries, and I often wonder what those readers see in my writing.  What resonates with them?   What can they relate to?

Readers, the time has come for me to decide whether I will continue writing my pearls of wisdom.   I didn’t accomplish what I first set out to do, but who cares?  I enjoy it, and it appears that some from other countries do too, and I can count on a few steadfast readers and a sister (who has no choice).

Contest time!  We need to rename this blog.  Come up with a catchy name for this almost-daily blog since I can’t continue using XXXing the 60 Blog after my birthday.  I won’t be 60 any longer, and it’ll be like false advertising.   In the next two months, my blogging mentor will help me transition this blog to a new platform, and I’ll add some news bells and whistles.  What better time to start fresh with a new name?

Please comment below or leave a message on my Facebook page with your suggested new names.  An independent panel of judges will choose the winner from the expected stack of responses.  The deadline for your suggestions is Monday, October 2 and there will be prizes!

Be creative.  Don’t be shy.  I want to hear from everyone!

 

 

Happy-fying the 60 Blog

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One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.

Are you happy?  Every day happy?  Or just when it’s time to clock out for lunch?  Or visit your grandchildren?  I try to be happy every day.  Even for just a few minutes.  Because the opposite of happy can be miserable.

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.  WalletHub conducted a survey and ranked all 50 states to find the Happiest States in America.  The website used three different metrics to determine the rankings:  (i) how emotionally and physically well its citizens are, (ii) work environment, and (iii) community gauges such as average leisure time and the volunteerism rate.

Here are the top and bottom rankings (the “happiness” score is out of 100):

Most Happy:

Minnesota:  71
Utah:  68
Hawaii:  68
California:  67
Nebraska:  66

Least Happy:

West Virginia:  35
Oklahoma:  35
Louisiana:  35
Alabama:  37
Arkansas:  37

What do you think?  Where do you live?

I found a quick quiz online to figure out how happy you are.  Check all that apply to you or that you agree with:

  • When you think about people in your life, you tend to think of those you care about and love.
  • You think life is getting better all the time.
  • When it comes to work or school, you enjoy a challenge.
  • You rarely compare your clothes, money, or possessions to those of your friends.
  • You enjoy giving to others, unconditionally.
  • You enjoy being around people.
  • You feel like your life is on the right track.
  • You aren’t afraid to stand up for what you believe.
  • There is enough time in your life to take care of yourself.
  • You have a strong positive attitude that has gotten you through tough times
  • When you feel confused, you just step back and remember that things will work themselves out.
  • If you fail at something, you try to make the most of the experience anyway.
  • You are proud of who you are.
  • You don’t take yourself seriously. Not at all.
  • You believe that finding meaning and happiness in life is something you have to do for yourself.
  • Even if things are bad, you can find a reason to laugh.
  • Even when your life changes drastically, you are able to thrive.
  • You would rather give a gift than receive one.
  • You feel like you can be yourself around your friends.
  • You let negative feelings go quickly.
  • You rarely feel lonely.
  • You feel like you have control over your life.
  • Over your life, you’ve learned a lot – and grown emotionally.
  • You could lose people you love (or be out of work) and still feel secure.
  • Life is good. You truly appreciate what you have.

 

What was your score?  I marked “yes” on 15 out of 25 statements, which makes me 60% happy.  I have some work to do.

For more information, visit Happiness Quiz.

 

Honoring the 60 Blog

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President George W. Bush (2008):  One of the worst days in America’s history saw some of the bravest acts in Americans’ history. We’ll always honor the heroes of 9/11. And here at this hallowed place, we pledge that we will never forget their sacrifice.

Where were you on 9/11?  That horrific day when thousands of people lost their lives and an infinite number of people were affected by the events of the day?

I vividly remember the day.  I had just gotten out of the shower (about 6:00 a.m. my time) and sat on the edge of my bed watching Matt Lauer talk about a plane being flown into the World Trade Center.  No mention yet of “terrorist attack,” a phrase we had never heard before.  For a few minutes, I sat there in disbelief and then realized I had better wake Leslie up and tell her to turn on the TV.

I remember taking hours to get ready for work that morning.  It was still a time of dress pants or dressers with nylons, and I found a blue and black striped dress and nylons to wear to work.  I wondered if we’d be sent home early from work and, sure enough, we were at the office for about an hour before we all went home.  My law firm’s main office was located in New York and after just a few hours of non-stop news, we still didn’t know the status of our New York personnel.

I drove home in a daze and spent the day with a friend glued to the television.  Marcy had family in New York, and we were trying to contact them and other friends to check on their status.  It was a trying few days and we all still relive those moments, I’m sure.

Yesterday, I read a blog, BeautyBeyondBones, and a brilliant article yesterday entitled “16 Years Forgotten.”  Ana starts off by reminding us that most high school seniors today were born after 9/11.  The slogan has been and always will be:  9/11:  Never Forget.  Ana believes that, unfortunately, most of us have forgotten about the attacks.  Remember in the days and weeks after 9/11 when this country had a shortage of American flags?  Sixteen years ago, we all came together.  Now?  “America today–we’re hostile with one another: venomously divided, and violently defensive.”

As Ana states, we have work to do involving issues such as racism and sexism.  I especially agree with her analogy of Hurricane Irma falling on the anniversary of September 11, which could be seen as a God-facilitated catalyst for our country to come together.

“Maybe this emergency is just the situation we needed to set aside our differences, and come together as a United nation. The United States of America. One nation – under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.”

Thank you, Ana.

 

Reliving the 60 Blog

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Michael Landon:  Sometimes I wonder if we live life by reliving life, rather than by living life.

As I was engrossed in hurricane coverage on TV, and as my computer ran out of battery power on Sunday (not at all comparing myself to those without electricity in Florida), I didn’t get to post my Sunday recap.  In case you missed my daily posts, here’s a handy way to catch up on what’s been happening.  Please share with your friends and enemies.

Sunday: Rewinding the 60 Blog

Monday:  Affiliating the 60 Blog

Tuesday:  Returning the 60 Blog

Wednesday:  Humanizing the 60 Blog

Thursday:  Naming the 60 Blog

Friday:  Globetrotting the 60 Blog

Next week, you won’t want to miss my posts on noise, prioritizing, sleep, and other surprises.

 

 

Globetrotting the 60 Blog

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Socrates:  Why do you wonder that globetrotting does not help you, seeing that you always take yourself with you?  The reason that set you wandering is always at your heels.

I belong to a professional organization made up of legal secretaries, legal assistants, paralegals, and other support personnel in the legal field.  For more than 20 years, I was active on the chapter, state and national level, and held many leadership positions.  Our local chapter dissolved a couple of years ago due to lack of attendance at meetings, and lack of interest from future leaders (those darned millennials!).

Since our local chapter folded, I’ve been less involved on the national level as well.  The last few national conferences were held on the east coast, and next month, the meeting will be held in Norfolk, Virginia.  Next year, I understand it will be held in Phoenix, and I will even drag Leslie with me!

At the start of my career here in California, I met several wonderful legal personnel who turned out to be great mentors to me and others.  At the time, they were about the age I am now, and I remember thinking, “Wow, good for them!  Still working and kicking ass at 60!”  I learned a tremendous amount from each of them:  Darlene, Shirley (two of them!), Carol, Lyla, Jeannie, Ginger, Lyn, Lynn, and many more.

Of course, we’re now all spread out around the state and country, so I don’t see these women as often as I’d like.  But my favorite Shirley called me yesterday.  She tracked me down to ask about a local meeting place (it’s all about the networking!) and we chatted about our current statuses.

I’m not sure how old Shirley is, but I’ll guess she’s in her mid-70s. She is currently working one day a week in the office for her long-time boss, and does some other work at home.  She is saving money to pay for her January trip to Africa.  And next year, when she saves up the rest of the money (she’ll need $12,000!), she’s going to Antarctica.  After next year’s trip, she will have visited all seven continents.  Currently, she brags that she has visited 42 countries.

For as long as I can remember, Shirley has been a go-getter and a certification lover–just like me!  My professional signature contains four certifications (professional legal secretary, professional paralegal, professional secretary, and administrative professional).  Shirley was the only person I knew who had more initials after her name than me, including certified parliamentarian and others than I can’t even remember.  Anyone who can share their parliamentary procedure knowledge is a winner in my book!

Does Shirley make anyone else feel like a giant slacker, besides me?

 

 

Naming the 60 Blog

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I do not want my children’s names to ever become a trending hashtag.  I do not want them to fear for their safety every time they leave home.  I do not want them to question their life’s value and significance.

The Class of 2025.

I have a friend whose daughter started fourth grade this week. Carly’s daughter’s name is Emi, which I don’t think is terribly unusual given (a) her half-Japanese heritage and (b) because I’ve known her since she was born.  Emi’s best friend is Gianna, which to me isn’t all that unusual either.

Gianna’s mother posted a photo of Gianna standing in front of a poster board with the names of everyone in her fourth grade class.  Where on earth did some of these names come from?

Now, I don’t have a problem with giving children unusual names or common names with unusual spellings.  (Hello?!)  Some of these names may have familial or religious meaning, yet some just strike me as odd.  What do you think?

Abby, Adilene, Annette, Brian, Clarissa, Darwin, Devon, Dominic, Eric, Erika, Gianna, Koa, Mairin, Marlene, Tatanka, Yosgart

Tatanka is a Lakota word meaning “Big Beast.”  For the Northern Plains People, Tatanka means life.  They relied upon the bison for food, clothing, housing, tools, just to name a few.  Extra trivia? Tatanka Means is a professional actor, comedian and boxer from Chinle, Arizona.  And we remember Kevin Costner and Tatanka in Dances with Wolves.

Yosgart means “a strong need for freedom, physical, mental and spiritual.”  It ranks No. 9180 on the list of boy’s names, down 79% from 2015.  This fourth-grader is possibly named for Yosgart Ernesto Gutiérrez Serna a.k.a. “El Pájaro Loco,” a Mexican goalkeeper.  He currently plays for Necaxa in the Liga MX.

Mairin is an Irish diminutive of Mary.  Looking at the name, I was saying MAY-rin in my mind when it’s actually pronounced MOI-reen or MAW-reen.  Either way, I wonder if she adds the accent marks over the two Is.

Remember these unusual names.  These kids will graduate college in 2029 and could potentially be running for office or taking over Facebook.  What I wouldn’t give to see a U.S. president named Tatanka in or around 2038!

 

 

Humanizing the 60 Blog

Brandon is back with the Humans of New York book that his loyal followers have been waiting for: Humans of New York: Stories. Ever since Brandon began interviewing people on the streets of New York, the dialogue he’s had with them has increasingly become as in-depth, intriguing and moving as the photos themselves. Humans of New York: Stories presents a whole new group of people in stunning photographs, with a rich design and, most importantly, longer stories that delve deeper and surprise with greater candor.  Let Brandon Stanton and the Humans of New York he’s photographed astonish you all over again.

If you’d like to read something inspiring and worthwhile, start following Humans of New York (HONY) on Facebook or other social media.  HONY is a photoblog and book that features street portraits and interviews collected on the streets of New York City.  Started by Brandon Stanton as a photography project in 2010, the initial goal was to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers on the street and “create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants.” After a while, he started interviewing the subjects in addition to taking their photos.  He’d include quotes and short stories, which went on to become an informative blog.  HONY has over twenty million followers on social media, and provides a worldwide audience with daily glimpses into the lives of strangers.

A month ago, Stanton shared stories from Moscow.  Click on this link to read more about this young lady and see her photo:  Humans of New York.

“I’m ninety, but I feel like I’m fifty.  I don’t take any medicine.  I never complain.  I’m just happy to be alive.  I tell people:  ‘Start with what you have, not with what you want.’  Every day, I dance for two hours.  And I’m still really interesting too.  I love politics and literature.  I love the sciences.  And I’ve got a boyfriend named Alexander.  We exchange books.  I don’t even know how old he is.”

So many great things to talk about.  She feels fifty and, in my opinion, looks fifty.  How many people do you know who don’t take medications as they get older?  (I know of one person, over 65, who takes one pill a day…a baby aspirin!)  And, c’mon, who dances for two hours a day?

I love that she finds herself “still really interesting.”  Would you describe yourself that way?  Do you know anyone, especially over 60 or 70, that brags about how interesting they are?